7 Marketing Strategies Every Startup Should Know

Marketing is critical for any startup because if people are not aware of the startup’s existence, they will not buy from it. However, when done the conventional way, marketing campaigns can be very costly, particularly for startups. Startups can use non-conventional marketing strategies to reach their target audience and grow their business. These marketing strategies that ride on modern trends that include the use of postcards newsletter template builder, email templates, content creation, search engine optimization, social media, and landing pages. Startups need to use as many of these strategies are they can to promote their products and services. Here are seven marketing strategies that every startup should explore: 

  1. Sending Email Newsletters

Emails are effective marketing tools that can help startups attract customers at minimal or no cost. To use this strategy, startups need to build an email list of prospective and existing customers in order to send them emails that promote their products or services. You can do this through your website. For instance, you could include a newsletter subscription form on the website to collect email addresses from visitors. 

The other way of building an email list is by asking customers to share their email addresses directly, even if you run a podcast. To interest customers, ensure that you include non-commercial information on your newsletters. For instance, a startup could feature content such as infographics, videos, articles and guides that empowers its target audience on the newsletter.

  1. Use of Social Media Posts

At this time and age, businesses cannot underestimate the power of marketing through social media platforms. With more than 3.5 billion people currently using social media across the globe, these platforms are taking marketing to a high level. Startups can use social media to promote their products or services by sharing posts such as videos, articles, infographics, offers, and promotions with their followers. 

In addition to marketing products, social media platforms serve as great spaces for engaging existing and prospective customers to understand their pain points and feedback on how they experience the products or services being offered by the startup. Some of the leading social media platforms that each startup should consider using include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. 

  1. Use of Blog Posts 

Blogs are great marketing tools that can give business startups the exposure they need. Statistics show that through blogging, businesses can generate up to 126% more leads compared to their competitors who do not blog. Using blogs, startups can position themselves as leaders in their industry and drive organic traffic to their sites through internet searches. 

The best way to create an effective blog is through publishing content that your target audience is seeking for or interested in. When such content is valuable, search engines will rank your blog highly on search results. This translates to high traffic as more people get to know about your startup. 

  1. Generate shareable content

Internet marketing thrives on sharing. This means that the content you create about your startup should be interesting and valuable to make your audience want to share. The more people share a piece of content, the more that content goes viral and reached more people. Some of the content formats that entice people, encouraging them to share include visual content such as short videos, infographics, images as well as blogs, stories, and articles.

 In creating content, consider information that is related to your business or is about your business. Of importance to note is that providing additional information to your followers or customers could entice them to become more curious about what you are offering. 

  1. Use Referral Programs

To grow your business fast, consider using the referral marketing strategy. This strategy thrives on allowing customers to promote your products or services to their friends and family. Most successful companies set up referral programs because people tend to believe in personal recommendations from people they know more than they believe company adverts.  

Every startup can reach more customers through a referral strategy by getting current customers to refer other people to the business. Find creative ways to encourage existing customers to refer their friends to your startup. For instance, you could offer customers who refer people to your business commissions, discount vouchers or coupons that they can claim in the future. An example of this could be ‘refer 2 friends and get free shipping the next time your shop’. The audience you attract through referrals can be a strong lead for your startup. 

  1. Hold a pre-launch event

When you are launching your business or product, create a buzz about it and let your target audience about it online and offline. One way to do this is by issuing raffles. Though this will cost you, it will entice them to get raffles and market the business. Through raffles, you can also encourage your audience to follow your business on different social media platforms. Once they connect with you on social media, you will be able to get their feedback about the products or services you offer. You will also be able to develop a contact list for use in future events or communication. 

  1. Use Search Engine Marketing

Search engine marketing is a strategy that involves driving traffic to your website and other online platforms through search engines such as Bing, Google, and Yahoo. For this strategy to work, you need to focus on optimizing your website for the search engines so that people can find your startup without having to call you. 

Statistics show that every day, millions of internet use search engines to find stuff on the web. If you optimize content such as blog posts, articles, images, videos and social media posts for search engines, you will attract visitors to your website and begin connecting with them to grow your customer base.  

Since you will be driving traffic to your website, ensure that it is loads fast so that visitors can access it without having to wait. To achieve this, you need to avoid the use of many heavy images as those will slow the website. Instead, use images only where they are really needed. 

Simple Barcode Inventory System for Small Business to improve efficiency

Inventory control is an essential element of any business. By maintaining effective control over your inventory, you can minimize losses and increase productivity. 

An effective inventory control system in place allows companies to offer more accurate stock information, faster shipping services, and improved customer experience. 

Small businesses sometimes assume that they don’t require a comprehensive inventory system. Many believe that implementing an inventory control system will be too costly for a start-up business or SME. 

However, small businesses and enterprises can benefit from advanced inventory systems, even more than larger organizations. As small companies generally have less staff and fewer resources, anything which streamlines processes and enhances productivity is beneficial. 

Furthermore, an effective inventory control system needn’t be costly to implement. 

What is a barcode inventory system?

A barcode system is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to maintain control over your inventory. Put simply; a barcode is a visual representation of data. When you scan this information which a barcode scanner, it updates the data in the system accordingly. 

1D barcodes are, perhaps, the most familiar type. They consist of vertical straight lines and a series of numbers along the bottom. However, 2D barcodes are becoming increasingly popular. 

Usually square, they consist of dots and various small shapes. As 2D barcodes can hold more information than 1D barcodes, more businesses are upgrading to 2D systems. 

Using a Barcode Inventory System

To use a barcode inventory system, you simply assign a barcode to each product in your system. You can then print out quality labels with the barcode on and apply it to the corresponding product. When you scan the barcode, it will automatically update your inventory system. 

Similarly, you can achieve the opposite effect when using a barcode system too. By using a different setting, you can enable the system to deduct a product from your inventory when you scan the corresponding barcode. 

As you can see, a barcode system enables you to record stock as it enters and leaves your premises. More importantly, it increases the accuracy of your data and allows you to manage your inventory far more quickly than if you were to do it by hand. 

What are the benefits of a barcode inventory system?

There are numerous advantages associated with using a barcode system to monitor your inventory, including:

Efficiency

Printing barcodes on to quality labels and scanning them allows your inventory to updated in record time. This will streamline your processes and increase productivity significantly, thus freeing up staff members for other tasks.

Functionality

If you introduce a new product, you can simply add a new barcode to the system and update your inventory. Similarly, if you discontinue a product line, it can be removed from the system in seconds. With the ability to make swift changes, the functionality of a barcode inventory system is second-to-none. 

Flexibility

Barcode inventory systems can be used on all types of products. Regardless of what packaging materials you’re using, quality labels will ensure that you can adhere barcodes to products of any shape or size. 

Reduced costs

When you manage your inventory manually, it can take a significant amount of time. Whether you’re doing this yourself or assigning staff to the task, it will cost you a considerable amount in terms of productivity. 

Switching to a barcode inventory system ensures the job can be done more quickly and by fewer people. As a result, you can minimize your outgoings, cut your wages bill and reduce overall costs.

Accuracy

Manual inventory management inevitably leaves the door open for human error. However, conscientious your staff are, they will make mistakes from time to time. 

When using a barcode inventory system, however, you can minimize these inaccuracies and maintain comprehensive stock information at all times.

Real-time data

Depending on the system you choose, you can access real-time inventory data when you use a barcode system. This means you can check stock levels and locations whenever you need to and access the latest information. 

Keeping track of your stock in real-time negates the possibility of ordering or producing too much and minimizes waste, thus reducing your costs even further.

Implementing a barcode inventory system

Small businesses, in particular, need to operate as cost-efficiently as possible. With the right packaging materials, printing equipment, barcode scanner, and quality labels like Zebra Printer Labels like the one from enkoproducts.com, you can implement an effective barcode inventory system straight away. 

Barcode inventory systems make life easier. They increase efficiency and lower costs, which is why they are an excellent investment.

7 Ways Smartphones In Healthcare Are Becoming Vital

There’s a mobile revolution brewing from smartphones in healthcare.

According to the latest statistics, mobile health (mHealth) is expected to reach $21.71 billion by 2022. There are many factors that influence this market’s growth, but one of the most important is the adoption of smartphones and wearable devices into the healthcare industry.

Smartphones in healthcare will affect everyone, from patients to medical students, doctors and nurses, everyone uses a smartphone for health purposes. Here are a just a handful of ways smartphones are becoming indispensable to the healthcare industry.

1. Enable patient monitoring

Before smartphones, patients had to come to the hospital for physical check-ups or, if they had just underwent surgery, remain hospitalized for a couple of days, so doctors can closely monitor their recovery.
For doctors, that meant seeing more patients on a hard to maintain schedule. On the flip side, patients were spending tens of thousands of dollars on hospital stays.

Smartphones have made it possible for doctors to remotely monitor their patients, so that patients are able to recover in their home comfortable and without a hefty hospital bill. It also frees up doctors’ time to allow them to better serve more patients, lowering their workload and increasing profits.

What’s more, software as medical device (SaMD) enables wearables to collect health data and send it in real-time to physician’s mobile device via wireless technology such as Bluetooth. This makes caring for chronically ill patients a lot easier and less expensive.

Receiving real-time data about important changes in someone’s heart rate or glucose levels, for example, allows doctors to quickly tweak their treatment and avoid a trip to the emergency room.

2. Facilitate learning for medical students

Gone are the days when medical students carried textbooks heavy enough to give them a chronic back pain. Nowadays, all they need is a smartphone and their favorite medical apps.

According to an article published in The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), over 70 percent of medical school students reported using at least one medical app regularly.

This percentage will only increase in the coming years, with more medical apps created daily. Some grant students instantaneous access to evidence-based medicine or test their diagnosis and treatment skills. Others help them stay up-to-date with industry trends, guidelines and medical literature.

Small enough to fit in a lab-coat pocket, smartphones have become a medical student’s best study companion. Learning to become a doctor is easier and more convenient than ever before, thanks to these devices’ ability to store all their studying materials in one place.

3. Improve clinical trials’ efficiency

Clinical trials are a vital part of medical innovations. And smartphones are helping streamline the way they are conducted.

With the steady rise of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) in healthcare, smartphones are becoming more prevalent in mobile-enabled clinical trials. In trials with large numbers of participants, having patients use their own smartphone or tablet for data collection can drastically reduce costs.

It can also improve data quality and increase compliance. Patients are more likely to record important health information in real-time with devices that never leave their sides, versus jotting it down on paper hours later.

And if they happen to forget to document their symptoms or take their medication — which is often required in clinical trials? Researchers can send patients SMS reminders.

4. Make healthcare accessible and convenient via telehealth

Mobile devices are making healthcare available to more patients, regardless of their budget or their location. The use of mobile technology in healthcare is called telehealth and it allows patients to get 24/7 doctor support for urgent care, psychiatry and other conditions at a fixed cost.

What’s more, studies show telehealth to be just as effective as in-office visits when it comes to diagnosis and treatment planning for chronic conditions, even for difficult to treat conditions like psoriasis.

The growing popularity of telehealth services didn’t go unnoticed by the biggest pharmacy chains. Last year, for instance, CVS Health launched MinuteClinic Video Visits, a telehealth service that gives patients with minor illnesses and injuries around-the-clock access to health services. All from their phones.

5. Empowering patients to manage complex diseases

For patients with cancer and diabetes, managing their condition can be a full-time job.

This is where smartphones come in handy, helping them stay vigilant about their lifestyle.

Patients with complex diseases rely on their mobile devices to schedule doctor appointments or measure their vitals. They also use their phones to lower stress through meditation.

Most importantly, smartphones help patients stick to their treatment plans. A recent study showed that patients with tuberculosis (TB) were more likely to take their medication, if they received support via smartphones versus face-to-face appointments.

6. An accurate self-diagnosis tool

It’s incredible how many health conditions can be diagnosed with a smartphone alone. No need for expensive or painful tests.

There are iPhone apps that can determine if someone is having a heart attack with the same level of accuracy as a medical electrocardiogram.

Others are capable of diagnosing anemia by analyzing photos of a patient’s fingernail beds. And elders can self-diagnose osteoporosis using their smartphone’s motion picture sensor.

Many medical conditions have subtle symptoms and can go undiscovered for years.

Thanks to their mobile devices, patients can now seek professional help — and receive proper treatment — before their health deteriorates.

7. Prevent administrative and medical errors

Mobile devices enable doctors to have access to medical records and critical lab results, in real-time, while at a patient’s bedside. This leaves little room for error.

In fact, one study showed that mobile devices cut medication administration errors by 61 percent and preventable medical errors by 46 percent.

Smartphones are also improving response times for emergencies such as seizures or cardiac events. A growing number of hospitals have integrated smartphone platforms that send phone alerts to nurses and clinical teams whenever patients need immediate assistance.

To keep up with the demand, smartphone manufacturers have launched devices specifically designed for hospital environments. Phones like the Zebra TC51 and the Honeywell Dolphin can endure a drop on the floor and they can come into contact with body fluids and still work perfectly. What’s more, they have a minimum number of seams, so as to keep germ absorption to a minimum.

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It’s easy to see why iPhones are poised to become the new norm in healthcare. While there are lingering concerns surrounding the security of handling sensitive health data from mobile devices, smartphone manufacturers are working on developing features that ensure secure connectivity.  

In the end,  the pros of using mobile health (mHealth), and smartphones in particular, far outweigh the cons. This is why 40 percent of all hospital workers are expected to use a mobile device at work by 2020.

5 things that make a mobile app amazing

It’s no secret that mobile is the future. Fewer people now view content on laptops or computers and more and more now reach for their mobiles. We all know it’s much more convenient, and in May 2019, just over 41% of web traffic came from mobile devices.

So why do so many shy away from making their content mobile friendly? It’s imperative that your business gets up to date with mobile users to ensure you continue to attract custom as technology evolves.

Mobile apps will not only increase the demand for your product but profits, too – as you will be opening up your company to a whole new audience. You’ll have a competitive advantage, as customers are much likely to come to your business first if they know you offer an app which is easy for them to navigate and use on the go.

Showing you’re keeping up with the times and doing more to push your brand will get you recognized within your industry and show that you really mean business.

Now that we have you convinced, what should you actually include in your mobile app to make it stand out from the crowd and gain traffic?

Here are 5 things that make a mobile app amazing.

Knowing your target market

According to Digital Authority Partners, for every 10,000 mobile apps developed, only 1 will make a dent in the market while the other 9,999 will get lost in the crowd.

To avoid being part of that 99.9%, you need to make sure to conduct thorough research on your target market.

You need to make sure that your app is filling a gap in the market, either by addressing a problem or targeting a direct target audience.

A study from the Journal of Business Cases and Applications states that since 2009, the number of niche app stores has doubled annually, while the number of general app stores has decreased. This proves more than anything that users are bored of seeing the same apps rebranded, and want to see something fresh.

Using fresh, professional designs

If you’re looking to create an app that people will want to download and use, it’s important to not only consider what you want to achieve, but how it will actually look on-screen.

The likelihood is that if a user doesn’t find the app appealing, they will delete it and may even leave a bad review. This will leave all of your hard work in the gutter.

Focus on a color scheme and styles of imagery and text that suit and blend with your brand, then develop from there.

If you are looking to work with a developer, make sure they are familiar with your brand and know exactly what you are looking for.

Blog Writer advises working with a team that already has experience in your industry, and to ensure you receive a timeline for the work to watch over and manage your budget carefully.

Science Direct has used the app CAMPER Weather as a great use of design when it comes to mobile. The weather app is designed to put a smile on the user’s face, no matter the weather.

This is how the shoe brand has demonstrated its understanding of optimism: half imagination, half craft. The app uses vivid imagery and colors to bring its brand to the customer in a way that doesn’t feel invasive or pushy.

Creating a robust SEO strategy

It’s obvious that you can’t really create an SEO strategy for a native mobile app, however, you can push your website to effectively market and create leads towards it. Combo App claims this all starts by finding the best keywords that fit in with your brand, location, and what you’re marketing.

Google only starts to pick up SEO after 60 to 90 days, so it’s important you set up the right time frames to make sure your site will push your app at the time of launch. Creating content based on your app will also help to boost its rankings on Google and the traffic it gets.

Remember, it’s important to make sure your app is in the 1% that gets noticed and downloaded!

Using video

The attention span of the world is getting shorter and shorter. An infographic from Wyzowl even goes as far as to claim that the average adult attention span has gone from 12 seconds to 2000 to 8.25 seconds in 2005.

This means that apps now need fewer words and more video, especially when it comes to explainers and demos. Using video will keep the user much more entertained and more likely to stay on the app.

It will also ensure that they understand how to navigate the app without confusion. This is particularly important as those who can’t figure out how to use your product in a short amount of time are much more likely to give up and close down than to persevere.

Marketing to boast about your product

Your app may not make front page news, but for many technology websites, or even the business pages of a newspaper, your efforts to modernize your company and try something new will not go unrecognized.

Sending out press releases may seem like a lengthy process, but even if just one outlet decided to use it out of 50, you will have still increased the word of mouth surrounding your app and will probably attract more custom.

If your copy is easy to read and ready to go, titles are much more likely to use it. Make sure to find a clear angle to promote your content.

Whether that’s your business branching out or your new way to solve gaps in the market, people will want to know.

And if you don’t tell them, the likelihood is that they won’t find out.

This article comes from Michael Reddy @ Digital Authority Partners

Where to Hire Experienced Freelance Web Developers

While it would be nice to have a team of web developers in your office available for all of your needs, the reality is that it would be very expensive and it’s not something that is cost-effective for many small businesses. As technology becomes more in-demand, so do the costs.

An experienced developer can cost you well over six-figures in salary alone, and then when you add up the other costs, like health care and other benefits, it becomes out of touch. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have access to top quality developers when you are in need.

There are a lot of talent available on freelance marketplaces, giving you the ability to hire talent from all over the world and only pay for what you need done. Many developers like to work under this model because it allows them to pick and choose their projects and work when they want, giving them the ability to take time off when they please. Here are the best places to hire a web developer online.

UpWork.com

This is a great option for developers as well as any other freelancer available. You can also search by location if you are looking for talent close to you.

“UpWork is great because there is a lot of great talent with different rates available,” says Hill Web Marketing’s Jeannie Hill, an expert at understanding a searcher’s intent. “I suggest taking the time to not only look over experience and portfolios, but also spend the time to dig through the reviews.” You can often save yourself a lot of time and potential issues by looking for freelancers with solid feedback.

You are also protected by UpWorks payment system, which gives you control over the amount and frequency you can be charged.

Freelancer.com

One of the original and most popular options, this has probably the largest pool of talent to pick from. There is a lot of entry level, so you have to be prepared to spend time interviewing before you hire.

“You can usually find the lowest rates here, but make sure you see previous work history,” offers Darryl Howard of Blogger Tips. “This can also be easily faked, so put a potential hire through the test first, and be sure to test his or her knowledge with some questions to help you feel confident. The good thing is Freelancer acts as an escrow service, and you pay only when satisfied.”

HireGeeks.com

While a lot of freelancer marketplaces offer a lot of different services, from developers to graphic designers and content writers, HireGeeks is geared towards more technical jobs, like development and coding.

“There are a lot of solid technical experts that can be found here, and this is a good resource for those odd one-off jobs, like having a custom plugin coded or a new application developed to handle pulling API data,” says Irene McConnell of Arielle Executive. “No matter how technical the task, you can usually find someone here capable of getting it done.”

Toptal.com

Looking for the best possible freelance talent when it comes to development projects? Look no further, as this is where many of the largest companies in the world come when they want the best.

“The name says it all, as it’s short for ‘Top Talent’ and they claim to have the top 3% of talent when it comes to developers,” says Oliver James of Perth Web Design. “Along with top talent comes top prices, so be prepared to spend more than you would on some of the other platforms that doesn’t have a barrier of entry.” If someone is on Toptal, then they are highly regarded when it comes to programming and development.

While there is no need to hire from here when it comes to simple jobs, this is a great resource if you are a Fortune 500 company with deep pockets and you demand the very best in everything.

Fiverr.com

When you need a quick simple job done, this is a good option. You won’t find the top talent here, but you will find capable people for simple tasks.

“There are often times you need something done that may seem complex to you, but some someone with basic computer skills it can be done in a matter of minutes,” explains Pedro Del Nero of Vaporizer Vendor. “Something as simple as placing tracking pixel code in a website header might give a business owner anxiety but a freelancer can do it in 2 minutes.”

In a simple situation like this, it’s work paying someone $5 or $10 and not having to deal with it. They make a quick dollar and you get the task done correctly.

Guru.com

This is another marketplace with a lot of developers actively looking for new projects. On here, you have access to more than 3 million experts. But, be careful because anyone can claim they are an expert.

“Guru is a great user friendly marketplace to find help, but just be aware that it’s such a large database and there are no prequalification or testing done before someone can offer his or her help. The due diligence falls entirely on you,” suggests April Gillmore, CEO of ClickFirst Marketing. “I would suggest using this for very basic projects to start.”

The good thing with these type of marketplaces is that they are great at finding talent and using small tests to see how capable and reliable they are. Over time you can assign more difficult and complex tasks to those that have proven themselves.

PeoplePerHour.com

This option has grown in popularity, and it’s similar to UpWork in the sense that you can find almost anything here, from logo designers to blog writers for a health and fitness blog.

“You will want to really test potential hires before offering any complex development work,” says Tad Thomas of Thomas Law Offices. “You can literally hire by the hour, so the initial capital requirement to test options is low. For a new business or a SMB with limited resources, this is a great affordable option.”

You are also protected by their payment gate, which only releases the funds to the freelancer when the customer is satisfied and signs off on the completed job.

The Best Must-Have Software and Programs Every SMB Owner Needs

Running a small business isn’t easy. It take a lot of time, so whenever you can use software to help run, manage and operate your business, it should be something you at least look into. Often times it makes the operational process, which can free up more time for you to use in areas that help grow your business.

The last thing you want to do is suck up all your time doing meaningless tasks that could be handled using the correct software applications. To help you do a little software and program audit, here are several must-haves that you should look into if you’re not already using them.

QuickBooks

If you are still doing your books the old fashioned way then you are wasting time. Manually entering data into books by hand is wasting resources. And while there are many accounting software options available, QuickBooks is the all-time favorite.

“QuickBooks is standard, and I would be willing to bet that the majority of small businesses are using this option,” says Andrew Tran of weighted blanket manufacturer Therapy Blanket. “The nice thing about this is that you can grant access to your accountant, so they can easily get to any information needed.” This is a much more convenient option than dumping it all on them right before April 15th.

There are a few different option available, but the basic one is adequate for most SMBs.

Microsoft Office

Are you doing word processing, creating spreadsheets or making presentations? Or are you reading these type of documents? If so then you need to have an active Microsoft Office subscription.

“Not only do you need a MS Office account to create and read documents, but if you want to use Outlook as your email client you will also need this,” says Loren Taylor of Soothing Company. “You can get access for as little as $69.99 a year, and that allows you to install your license on multiple devices, like a desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile device.”

There are some knock-off products that are similar, but they never work properly. Always go for the original.

Google GSuite

Google’s GSuite product gives businesses the ability to use its Gmail email platform for their email system, which is the primary reason most opt to go with this option.

Gmail is a great email client, and if you are using emails on your own domain, like on this Gold Coast pest control company, then you can use GSuite to run them through Gmail. It’s a great solution and it’s very inexpensive, at around $5 a user per month. Aside from the email, you also get cloud storage and Google Docs, as well as access to all of their other applications.

It’s a very affordable software that will enhance your business. Nothing will come close to this in terms of dollar value. It’s first in its class. You can launch a fitness blog and use GSuite to create custom email addresses that use your domain name, but Gmail’s functionality.

InfusionSoft

If you have a CMS need, then this is one of the most powerful options, as you can integrate it with almost anything out there and it allows you to create custom rules that will automate a large percentage of your marketing effort.

“InfusionSoft’s autoresponder and automation process is top of the line and you can set custom rules and features that act differently according to how and when a prospect responds or takes action to either another email or to a piece of content on your website,” offers Chris Moberg of Slumber Search.

Because InfusionSoft is so complex, it can take some time to really understand all of its features. There are a lot of InfusionSoft experts out there that you can hire to not only set it up for you but walk you through the entire platform and really explain all its capable of. The more you understand it, the better you can leverage its full power.

InterCom

Installing Intercom on your website is like hiring a fulltime customer service agent and having them work 24/7 for you and never asking for a day off. If you are a service provider or an e-commerce website then this is a great addition.

“Intercom is great for live chat as well as for initiating conversations offline in the event that it’s afterhours and your office is closed,” says Ignacio Soria of CANN & Co. “If a visitor clicks on the chat icon and it’s when your business is closed you can have it pre-set to ask them to leave a detailed message and a contact number so you can answer their questions as soon as you reopen.”

It’s very affordable and the analytics and data it collects can be used to really improve your business.

Slack

Slack is something that almost all remote teams use. It’s an internal communication platform that keeps all conversations, notes and ideas in one central location for all to see and access.

“Slack is great for all businesses, from large creative teams consisting of dozens of people located all over the world, to local businesses with a few employees all in one small office,” says Pat Skinner of AnswerFirst, a company you can read more about here. “I like it just for the communication capabilities. Rather than having people using multiple different chat platforms, emails, texts, etc., you can keep all communication on Slack.”

When you make it a rule to keep all communication on a Slack channel you eliminate excuses, lost communications, etc. It’s all there, all the time, and for all to see.

5 Top Tech That Will Give Your New Business an Edge

Let’s face it, running a business takes a lot of hard work and also requires wearing many hats if you’re to succeed and become profitable. For example, you’ll need to market your products and services, keep in touch with clients, manage your staff, and ensure that the business stays ahead of your competition at all times. One of the easiest ways to improve your overall productivity and boost your output is by incorporating useful technology that automates crucial tasks in your business.

Here, we describe the top five technologies that will give your new business an edge and dramatically improve your chances of success.

Security tech

Security threats exist left, right, and center irrespective of the niche your business is operating in. Some of the areas where security risks exist include:

Physical boundaries

These are the walls within which your business resides. Properly manning the likely entry points helps prevent undetected intrusion. For small businesses, installation of security cameras and alarm systems will effectively mitigate the physical threats. For large businesses where exit and entry points are busy, personnel identification systems such as fingerprint, biometric, and card authenticators are necessary.

System units

These include the devices you use in the ordinary course of your business such as computers, printers, routers, and servers. The best way to secure them is through the use of strong passwords, monitored access to company computers, and adoption of strong internet firewalls. Additionally, you can synchronize important data to cloud storage to add that extra layer of security in case of accidental data loss.

Financial tech

Any business has to be accountable for its finances in order to streamline its monetary tasks. Financial technologies assist you to manage payrolls, taxes, vendors, creditors and other stakeholders that your business works with. Some of the top apps that you can easily integrate in your system unit include:

QuickBooks

This accounting software assists businesses to monitor activities that relate to sales and expenditure. You can use it to view financial statements including profit & loss reports, invoices, tax deductions, creditors report, and debtors accounts. Another outstanding feature is its ability to link up with multiple sources of finances such as bank accounts, PayPal, and credit cards.

Did you also know that you can use QuickBooks on mobile devices? There’s the QuickBooks Online which synchronizes business data across various devices including mobile handsets.

You can also check out many other related financial tech software available for businesses today including Xero which is another top player and an industry leader alongside QuickBooks. See how Xero compares to QuickBooks here to help you decide which between them best suits your business model.

Communication tech

A business needs to communicate uninterruptedly with customers and other stakeholders that are critical to its operation. Communication apps give your business an edge by:

  • Facilitating better management of your contacts
  • Enhancing meetups with your peers and clients via teleconferencing
  • Managing messages and ad campaigns
  • Automating responses to customers when you’re offline or busy
  • Coordinating team projects by centralizing objectives

Some of the communication technologies that you can quickly adopt include Skype, Outlook, Bots, and social media apps.

Marketing tech

Marketing technologies help you promote your ideas and solutions with the sole aim being to reach your target audience. They also sell your uniqueness in the face of competitors to help your brand stand out. Some of the marketing technologies to consider here include:

Social media

It’s estimated that over 3 billion people worldwide have access to social media platforms. These forums are not only easy to join but also designed to serve all classes of people including businesses. Social media promotes business marketing by:

  • Allowing direct interaction of prospects with business owners
  • Placing ads of products and services
  • Facilitating brainstorming, idea exchanges, and networking

Email providers

Modern businesses have shifted their attention from land-based mailing services to online providers that are more affordable, quicker, and more convenient. Today, most small and medium-sized businesses with limited advertising budgets credit email marketing for the majority of their profits and recurring income.

Time management tech

Time is the only asset that you cannot afford to lose once your business is on its feet. In the past, watches were the only appliances that people would use to manage time. But today, technology has revolutionized things allowing you to organize your schedule and remain focused on crucial tasks. Here are several handy technologies you can consider when running a business:

RescueTime

This tool tracks and reports the time you spend on your everyday apps. It also allows you to set alert alarms, reminders, and block distracting sites. It works across major operating systems including Linux, Android, Windows, and iOS.

Omnifocus

This task manager assists you in creating and organizing projects in your to-do lists. The app supports synchronization of data across various devices too.

Wrap-up

How are you leveraging technology to improve your business and make it more profitable? We’d love to hear about the tools you’re using to make your work easier.

8 Amazing & Best Web Design Tools You Must Try For 2019

Technology is constantly evolving and changing the way we do things. Back in the day, developers built websites by hard coding from scratch. As time went by, tech enthusiasts developed tools that could cut down on the development process. This led to the rise of content management systems like Drupal and WordPress which have made the process of building, publishing, updating and maintaining websites easier.

The following roundup is going to focus on some of the best web design tools that can bring more control, consistency, power, and efficiency to your workflow. We have also included several online competitive intelligence tools to help you streamline your website’s SEO and make it more productive.

Let’s dive straight in.

Adobe XD

Adobe XD is an amazingly stable web design and prototyping tool that offers a feature-rich development environment. Its UI kits come in handy if you wish to build your app or website designs from scratch. Adobe XD also allows you to import designs from Illustrator and Photoshop and use them as prototypes.

Zoho Sites

Zoho Sites is a core-component of the popular Zoho productivity suite. It is a simplified website builder that allows developers to create professional websites in a few minutes. Individuals with minimal technical knowledge can also use the platform as it works with a simple drag-and-drop website builder. Zoho Sites provides the basic design functions and capabilities for free but also has a premium service where you can purchase professional add-ons at affordable prices.

Marvel

Marvel enjoys a reputation as one of the best design and prototyping platforms that can refine your web design. Novices, as well as professional developers, can use Marvel as a standalone product. The functions of this tool revolve around design, prototyping, wireframing, and app integration. Marvel offers some exclusive design features such as simple design mode, simple imports, teamwork integration, templates library, Dropbox syncing, and so much more.

Wix

Wix is a powerful coding tool that allows developers to create what we would call a masterpiece design. It allows designers to come up with professional-looking and visually appealing web pages. Through Wix, you can integrate email marketing, social-plugins, and community forums into your website in just a few clicks.

Wix also recently rolled out an AI-driven service that presents users with a complete website after answering a few questions. This tool remains one of the best solutions for professional web design in 2019 and beyond.

Webstarts

Webstarts is another fantastic website platform that allows you to create and host your site. Developers can choose to use Webstarts coding tools to build their website from scratch or customize the existing template designs. This tool also has a blogging channel that can help users improve their search engine ranking. The site’s resources are also great for starters who wish to create and promote their brand online.

SeMrush

SeMrush is not a stand-alone web design tool but a comprehensive SEO software that offers an extensive feature set. It helps business webmasters and e-commerce entrepreneurs improve their SEO, link-building, keyword strategy, SERP, PPC, and other marketing elements. With this tool, you can gather data and understand the analytics behind your website. SeMrush is a great resource for online businesses that are struggling to gain a competitive edge in the industry.

Similar Web

Similar Web is a phenomenal software for online competitive intelligence. It provides data analytics for desktop websites, mobile websites, and applications. This tool can complement your web design by offering you data-driven insights concerning your business and your competition activities.

Both Similar Web and Semrush share a lot in common especially in providing competitive intelligence for businesses. Indeed, the Similar Web Vs. Semrush debate keeps coming up on most digital marketers forums and doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

To determine which between the two is more appropriate for your business, take advantage of the tools’ trial period (Semrush) or free version (Similar Web) to test out their features, customer support, and data accuracy and consistency among others.

Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools provides a wide range of great features for site owners and web developers. It acts as Google’s way of giving webmasters information they need to run a website successfully. With this tool, you can set up and check your sitemap, run a security scan, and even find optimization opportunities with top ranking keywords. If you wish to refine your link building or page-level strategy, this is the tool to use.

Conclusion

Website developers, design agencies, and SEO professionals need to work smarter in 2019 and beyond. Going forward, you cannot afford to waste time on antiquated design software or technologies. And no, we’re not asking you to ditch or completely scrape off the tools you currently use; however, consider switching to better and more efficient web development tools that enhance your productivity and the overall workflow.

Why it is necessary to have an https secured website in 2019

Nowadays, we turn to the web for almost everything, from buying to selling and to socialise.  So, it makes sense that when your online security matters. Therefore, being secured also applies to your website.

It is necessary, in order to protect yourself and your customers, that your website should be https secured.  Cyber-attacks are on the increase and more often than not small businesses are a target of this crime.

Why should you care

So, what is the difference between and why should you care?  Basically, it all boils down to an encrypted https secured website ensuring your website’s security in 2019.  Failing to ensure that your website is https can have a severe effect on your website’s ranking and damage your SEO and digital marketing campaigns.  Less traffic means less business.

Taking a digital marketing course is a good idea to secure your website and enhance your SEO and digital marketing campaigns.

Https vs http

Https protects your website’s users from cyber-attacks and their information being stolen, like credit card or log in details.  In its basic form https encrypts information sent between a browser to a web server.

Http (hypertext transfer protocol) is used to transfer information on the web.  This form of transferring information uses less data by disregarding previous web sessions.

Https requires security when exchanging information like credit card numbers log ins and was established to sanction secured transactions.

The key difference between https and http is security.  Https is sued to any site to secure information, especially ecommerce sites to protect transactions.

SEO advantages

Google’s reasons for recommending the switching to https site has many SEO benefits to consider such as:

  • Security – Every business needs increased web security and https authenticates websites and server communication.  https also lessens potential third-party damage.
  • Referral data – As part of your overall SEO and digital marketing strategy, referral data makes the decision to switch to https easier to make.
  • Increased rankings – Switching to a https secured website will not dramatically increase your website’s ranking, but it will be effective over time.

How to switch to https

Online security has fast become a top priority for all online businesses, and we understand that it is important that our data is safe.  With website security top of mind, you really should switch to https.

To switch to https, you need to be familiar with the backend of a website and the basic steps are listed below:

  • Purchase an SSL certificate – these small data files when installed on a web server activates the https protocol and allows secure connections from a server to a browser
  • Install SSL certificate – once the SSL certificate has been installed configure the SSL certificate.
  • Do a backup – perform a full backup of your site.
  • Configure – all your hard internal links within your website must be configured from http to https.
  • Redirect – any external links must be redirected to https, such as directory listings.
  • Update links – update all links used in your digital marketing such as email links.
  • Https in Google – set up an https site in Google Search Consoles and Google Analytics.

It should be noted that for small websites some of the above mentioned points will not apply.

Is it worth switching?

There has been quite a debate on whether it is worthwhile switching from a http to a https secured website.  Google’s announcement that https is a ranking signal has fuelled this debate even more. As with any big change in your SEO or digital marketing structure apprehension is reasonable.

With the increase in cyber-attacks, there has been a push towards making the switch and responsibility for the security of websites is being placed on the website holders.  

As with any technological change there are a few concerns outlined with migrating from a http to a https website.  A lot of these concerns are real such as, what if my website rankings decrease, or what if the redirects are messed up?

There may be a slight drop in the SERPS rankings related to the switch, but this is likely to rectify itself with time.  But on the flip side a secured website is a huge plus.

How You Can Foster Employee Loyalty At Your Tech Company

The tech world seems to be full of people jumping from company to company trying to get ahead in their careers. Often times when people jump around like this it can hurt their career as companies looking to hire will see they lack employee loyalty. This cannot be place all on the worker as certain companies treat their employees far better than others. The internet has allowed people to voice complaints about their companies online which plenty of people review before going on an interview. Treating employees well in numerous ways can foster employee loyalty which will help the bottom line as training new employees can be a huge killer of cash flow depending on employee turnover. The following are ideas and tips to help improve employee loyalty at your tech company.

Comfortable Working Environment

Being able to wear anything you want or sit in a massage chair during breaks can give a comfortable feeling that will result in quality work. Flex hours also can be a huge deal as some people would rather come in early and leave early while others will enjoy a few extra hours of sleep. These hours are very convenient for people that might have an appointment or pick their kids up from school. Other things that foster comfort is an open office rather than being trapped in some kind of cubicle.

Stress On Company Culture

Hiring people that are going to get along is important as having friends at work can make communication far easier. Team building activities can only do so much if people do not have things in common outside of the workplace. Take the time to get to know people before hiring them as you might find that they could kill the atmosphere in the office. Employees usually do not understand how good they have it until a person with a negative attitude is hired.

Work From Home Privileges

Working from home is the best perk that many people can be given whether they are single without kids or have a family. Being able to work from anywhere allows a parent to spend more time at home and a single person to travel the world without having to miss out on work/pay.  With this being said those working from home should have production monitored with a time tracking software to make sure they are not just sitting around on days they work from home.

Competitive Pay and Bonuses

The above perk can be enough for people to take a lower salary but for the most part people want to be compensated fairly. Bonuses for high performers can help foster loyalty as people just want to be recognized plus a bonus check never hurts. Take the time to evaluate pricing for clients to see if you might need to raise them in order for raises in salaries not to impact the bottom line. Clients that are going to renew their contract due to the quality of work usually are willing to pay a little more to continue working together rather than spend the time that could potentially be a waste to find another contractor.